Information Processing Model
The Information Processing Model is a framework used by cognitive psychologists to explain and describe mental processes. The model likens the thinking process to how a computer works.
Just like a computer, the human mind takes in information, organizes and stores it to be retrieved at a later time. Just as the computer has an input device, a processing unit, a storage unit, and an output device, so does the human mind have equivalent structures.
In a computer, information is entered by means of input devices like a keyboard or scanner. In the human mind, the input device is called the Sensory Register, composed of sensory organs like the eyes and the ears through which we receive information about our surroundings.
As information is received by a computer, it is processed in the Central Processing Unit, which is equivalent to the Working Memory or Short-Term Memory. In the human mind, this is where information is temporarily held so that it may be used, discarded, or transferred into long-term memory.
In a computer, information is stored in a hard disk, which is equivalent to the long-term memory. This is where we keep information that is not currently being used. Information stored in the Long-Term Memory may be kept for an indefinite period of time.
When a computer processes information, it displays the results by means of an output device like a computer screen or a printout. In humans, the result of information processing is exhibited through behavior or actions - a facial expression, a reply to a question, or body movement.
The Information Processing Model is often used by educators and trainers to guide their teaching methodologies.